Speech at the Seminar on ‘NEETs and Second Chance Opportunities’ – Miramar Palace San Sebastian

earlall logo bluEarlall – European Association of Regional and Local Authorities for Lifelong Learning organised a seminar on NEETs and Second Chance Opportunites on 6th May 2015, from 12.00 to 14.00 at Miramar Palace, Donostia – San Sebastian.

The Seminar, organized in combination with the General Assembly of the association, was meant to be the moment to get to know initiatives taken by other regions, share best practices and learn from each other.

It followed Earlall previous seminar on Youth Guarantee: From regional to local implementation, offereing the opportunity to present and learn from the measures that Earlall regions are implementing in order to address youth unemployment in the EU.

More specifically, it taken place within the framework of the work on youth policies started by Earlall in 2012 with a comparison between different youth policies implemented by Earlall regions.




Youth employment is a priority for the European Union. The situation varies a lot across Europe. While there is no single solution to address this challenge, there is an urgent need to act.

The young population is recognised as one of the most vulnerable groups in society. This is particularly the case in today’s situation, as the financial and economic crises have had a strong impact on young people. The EU Youth Strategy states that: “The social exclusion and poverty of young people and the transmission of such problems between generations should be prevented and mutual solidarity between society and young people strengthened. Equal opportunities for all should be promoted and all forms of discriminations combated.” Young people aged 15-24 who are neither in employment, education nor training (NEETs) have a much higher risk of not finding work, of experiencing poverty and/or being socially excluded in the future than other groups in society. It is therefore a high priority for the EU to reduce the number of NEETs.

What makes NEETs so problematic is that they are often invisible, hard to reach and difficult to reintegrate. There are common risk factors for becoming a NEET, such as dropping out of school, a low level of education, a migration background or a disability. Yet the group is very heterogeneous and requires distinct forms of policy interventions.

In January 2015, the youth unemployment rate was 21.2 % in the EU-28 and 22.9 % in the euro area, compared with 23.3 % and 24.3 % respectively in January 2014. In January 2015, the lowest rates were observed in Germany (7.1 %), Austria (8.2 %) and Denmark (10.8 %), and the highest in Spain (50.9 %), Greece (50.6 % in November 2014), Croatia (44.1 % in the fourth quarter 2014) and Italy (41.2 %)

Eurofund estimates that in 2011, the cost of young people’s unemployment or inactivity was the equivalent of 1.21% of GDP, i.e. an annual loss of €153 billion for the EU. The reintegration into employment of just 10% of these young people would create a yearly gain of more than €15bn.

An interesting breakdown of NEETs is the percentage of persons aged 18-24 who have left formal education with at most secondary education level and who are no longer engaged in any kind of further education or training. The latter group is part of the “early leavers from education and training”3, and experts often relate high NEET rates to difficulties in the transition from school to work.

In the flagship initiative “Youth on the Move”, the Commission set out proposals to reach the EU 2020 targets in the domains of education and employment. As concerns education, the education and training systems should be improved at all levels, one major aim being to reduce the number of early leavers from education and training. They face severe difficulties in finding work, are more often unemployed and more often dependent on welfare benefits.

From the perspective of lifelong learning, any type of education or training (be it formal or non-formal) improves skills and employability. This suggests that focusing on persons who are neither in employment nor in any form of education or training is relevant. Costs of NEETs calls for new policy action in support of those not included in education or employment.

The aim of the seminar was to share different policy measures, assess their effectiveness and key success factors, and identify flagship initiatives that could be developed and implemented in Earlall members regions.





12h00: Welcome, Presentation and introduction

Ms. Cristina Uriarte, Minister for Education, Linguistic Policy and Culture, Basque Government, President of Earlall

Mr. Ramón Martínez de Murguia Urreta, Director of Training and Learning, Ministry of Education, Basque Government

12h15: Young People not in employment, education or training – NEETs

How to tackle emergency of NEETs?

Mr. Giovanni Crisonà, Director of CSCS – Centro Studi “Cultura Sviluppo”, Italian representative of EfVET – European Forum of Technical and Vocational Education and Training

12h45: Second Chance Opportunities – Best practices in our regions

Moderated by Mr. Ramón Martínez de Murguia Urreta

Success factors and transferability of the measures:

  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Brittany (tbc)
  • Catalonia
  • Euskadi

Fostering employability through an experience abroad

Ms. María Ángeles Caballero, Director of IDEA Instituto Dual

Debate/Questions and Answers

13h30: Conclusions & Key messages

Mr. Giovanni Crisonà

13h45: Closure

Presidency of EARLALL

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